Sunday, June 21, 2009

Neda on Wikipedia

It seems that Wikipedia doesn’t like Neda. Having her own page there apparently violates their purpose, which is to be an encyclopedic reference. The deletion of this page could only be seen as offensive to those who remember.


This beautiful young lady’s entry will be preserved here, just in case such a deletion occurs:

Neda Agha Soltan (1982 – June 20, 2009 in Tehran) was an Iranian woman whose alleged killing by Basij militia during the 2009 Iranian election protests was captured on video by bystanders. The graphic videos were posted on the Internet, and her name quickly becoming a rallying cry for the pro-reform demonstration. Neda means "voice" in Persian, and she was dubbed the "voice of Iran" by some opposition groups.

An unnamed Twitter poster claimed on June 20, 2009 that Neda, along with her father, walked in protest down Karegar Avenue in the city of Tehran. They were participating in the protests against the 2009 Iranian election when she was allegedly shot by members of the Iranian Basij volunteer militia. Undated amateur videos of Neda's alleged death were uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, and spread across the internet virally. The videos were accompanied by an unverified message written by an anonymous individual who claimed that he was present when the amateur video was recorded:

“At 19:05 June 20th Place: Karegar Ave., at the corner crossing Khosravi St. and Salehi st. A young woman who was standing aside with her father watching the protests was shot by a basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight her heart. I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her. But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim’s chest, and she died in less than 2 minutes. The protests were going on about 1 kilometers away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gass used among them, towards Salehi St. The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me. Please let the world know."

Discussions about Neda on Twitter became one of the "trending topics" by the end of the day on June 20, 2009.

The authenticity of the videos, the location of the incident, and the identity of the alleged killer have not yet been independently confirmed by the main stream media. Neda's alleged death was not reported by the state controlled Iranian media, but was reported by international media. CNN showed the video of the incident multiple times on June 21, 2009, at first with her face blurred, and later without censoring.

Early reports listed her name as "Neda Salehi".

The name "Neda" can be heard several times on the video clip, presumably by her father. It has been reported that he can be heard saying (in Farsi) "Neda, don't be afraid. Neda, don't be afraid. [obscured by others yelling] Neda, stay with me. Neda stay with me!"

We will not forget. And forgiveness will be difficult. Neda was martyred, not because she was protesting, but because she was outside and watching the protests. We will not forget, because we are human beings with emotions. And through the streets of Iran, Neda has lived up to her name: she has given the people a voice because of the her illegal and unwarranted murder.

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